Purkinje cell dendritic atrophy induced by prenatal stress is mitigated by early environmental enrichment

Rodrigo Pascual, Martina Valencia, Carlos Bustamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Abstract Background Prenatal stress (PS) in experimental animals causes long-lasting changes in Purkinje cell dendritic morphology. Furthermore, these structural changes are associated with an increase in anxiogenic behaviors in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open-field (OF) test. Objectives As environmental enrichment (EE) has significant restorative effects on brain neurons and behavior, the aim of this study was to evaluate if postweaning EE mitigates the decrease in Purkinje cell dendritic expansion and exploratory behavior induced by PS in mice. Materials and Methods Restraint stress was induced from gestational day 14 (G14) to G21. Approximately 50% of the PS animals were submitted to the EE paradigm between postnatal days 22 (P22) and P52. At P52 and P82, male animals were behaviorally evaluated, and then the morphology of the cerebellar vermal Purkinje cells was analyzed. Results We found that EE significantly ameliorates the Purkinje cell dendritic atrophy and anxiety-like behavior in the EPM. Conclusion Our data show that long-lasting Purkinje cell dendritic impairments and anxiety-like behavior can be mitigated by postweaning EE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Purkinje cells
  • environmental enrichment
  • fetal programming
  • prenatal stress


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